Keyser Söze is a Turkish drug lord who is legendary and infamous among police and criminals alike. Keyser's legend began when he started his criminal career as a petty drug dealer in his native, Turkey, however, when rival Hungarian smugglers invade his house while he is away, raped his wife, and hold his three children hostage; when Söze arrives, one of them kills one of his sons and demand he surrender his business. Instead, Söze kills his own son, wife, and daughter than shot all but one of the Hungarians, who he knows will tell the Mafia what has happened. Once his family is buried, Söze targets the Hungarian Mafia, their families, friends, and people who owes him money.
Keyser's legend is known by his ruthlessness and the influence had made him acquire a reputation that the world thought he was a myth, as such, its further supported due to his past, he went underground, never again doing business in person. His legacy has been further described of having his enemies and disloyal henchmen brutally murdered, along with everyone they hold dear, for the slightest infractions, and he personally murders anyone who can identify him. Even his own henchmen often do not know for whom they work. Over the years, his criminal empire flourishes, where to the point he became a fearsome urban legend, "a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night".
Keyser had set up four other criminals, Dean Keaton, a corrupt former police officer and professional thief, Michael McManus, a short-tempered professional thief, Fred Fenster, McManus' partner who speaks in mangled English, and Todd Hockney, a hijacker, to heist a ship in San Pedro Bay where a cocaine deal is being made by the Argentinians to the Hungarians. A shootout between the criminals and each of the mobsters resulted in them getting killed, Keyser did partake in the massacre but only to avoid leaving any witnesses, he also wanted to get rid of Arturo Marquez, the only person that could identify him, as, in truth, the Hungarians were offering to buy him from the Argentinians.
Keyser soon went under as Roger "Verbal" Kint, a talkative, timid, short-con operator suffering from cerebral palsy, as he was taken in by the San Pedro Police Department for interrogation, in that moment, he was granted immunity from prosecution provided he assists the investigation. When he was interrogated by Special Agent Dave Kujan of US Customs, Keyser fabricated his story by making it from strung-together details culled from a crowded bulletin board, making Kujan believe Dean was Keyser Söze. Upon his realization, along with a sketch faxed to the police station that the drawing resembles Kint, given it was provided by a Hungarian survivor, Arkosh Kovash, Keyser dropped his Verbal persona and got in a car driven by Mr. Kobayashi, where Kujan was too late as they already drove off.
Keyser Söze later became a target of the Anti-Hunters.
Keyser Söze is truly a legendary and mysterious man. Söze has such a reputation, people think he's a myth, an urban legend that considers it "a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night", an infamous drug lord among police and criminals alike.
Keyser Söze's legacy started in Turkey as he is known for his ruthlessness, an Hungarian mob wanted his business but Keyser responded by shooting two of the Hungarians dead after one of them killed his first son, even with the third and last Hungarian taking his daughter hostage, Keyser pointed his gun and shot his second son, his wife, than his daughter which shocked the the Hungarian who was holding her captive, telling him he "would rather see his family dead than live another day" as he let the Hungarian go. Keyser's reason for doing this is described, by Verbal/himself during his interrogation with Special Agent Kujan, of "needing the will to do what the other guy wouldn't", as proven of committing familicide not only to his own family but to the rest of the Hungarian mob the three mobsters were working, as stated during Verbal/his interrogation, he kills their kids, their wives, their parents, their parents' friends, burns down the houses they live in and the stores they work at, and even kill the people for own him money. Another incident that showed how ruthless he is, he set up three other criminals on a heist on a boat, a deal between the Hungarians and Argentinians, leading to a shootout, all this to kill a Hungarian to knows his identity, even setting fire to the boat.
Keyser is an infamous drug lord, starting to become a petty drug dealer in Turkey. After the incident with Hungarians and his family, Söze went underground, never doing business in person, he only does this through his henchmen, who they do not even know for whom they work. Keyser's business is also a part of his well-known legend, he even made rivals within the drug smuggling business, given how he made numerous enemies of the Hungarian mob, as they wanted to surrender his business, he even has made rivals with the Argentinians. He would brutally murder them as to anyone to threatens his business in way, whether someone stole from him or force him to surrender his position, holding them in high regards.
Keyser most prominent and fearsome traits is his cunning mind, tactical wit, and proves to be a powerful manipulator. Söze's intellect is proven to be the best of what makes him a legend, he is very calculating and deceiving, before the incident between the Hungarians and Argentinians, he put on a facade of being Roger "Verbal" Kint, a timid, cooperative, somewhat kind, and talkative short-con operator suffering from cerebral palsy in his left hand and left foot, making others believe he was walking with a limb, as he was being taken in by the San Pedro Police Department. During his interrogation with Kujan, he was able to fabricate a story by using names on the bulletin-board in Sgt. Rabin's office, to the point he convince him that Dean Keaton was Keyser Söze for brief a moment after the real Söze left the police station. Even so, he would often let his henchmen do the work while standing by, as such, when the situation seem has been carried out, Söze will often take action himself if its covering his identity or dealing with betrayal, as Söze got rid off Arturo Marquez since he was the only one who can identify him, same reason for Edie, and killed Dean, Todd, Michael, and Fred to cover it up all but also since the four outlived their usefulness. Söze's manipulation had influence around the world that acquired him such a reputation that the people believe he was a myth. Even so, during Verbal/his interrogation, he described "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, he's gone.". With his genius intellect, he formulated a plan by setting up a shootout to kill a Hungarian who knows his identity. While posing as Verbal, he was able to hide his true self, calculating, deceptive, cold, patient, and calm, as during the heated interrogation with Kujan, he was able to remain in character.
Söze seems to be polite. When addressing to others, he speaks in a well-manner tone. When facing a crippled Keaton, he asks if he was ready than asked him for the time before shooting him.
Söze takes pride of his criminal career as posing as Verbal, he described his many achievements such as his legacy, reputation, and business. He also doesn't seem to tolerate betrayal as he was also known to brutally murder his own henchmen who are disloyal to him.
Söze's pride in his reputation, his ruthlessness, and confidence in his intellect and manipulation may be his downfall. After killing Keaton, Söze didn't know he was witnessed by the last Hungarian mobster who was hiding, and survived when he set the boat on fire. Upon his existence being revealed to the public, Söze didn't show despair or anger but it wasn't enough to spare Arkosh for exposing him, as Keyser came to the hospital to kill him.
Also, after the incident, when Dean was setting leaking gasoline on fire, Söze stopped the flame by peeing on it, it is unknown if its some sort of habit or way of mocking his victims.
Söze is also a smoker.
Powers and Abilities
Two Hungarian Mobsters
The Hungarian Mafia
Hungarian Mafia's Families
Hungarian Mafia's Associates
The Hungarian and Argentinians Mob
- According to Verbal's story, the police lineup shows his height is approximately above 5'6 ft.
- There were a few clues in the film that indicate Verbal was Keyser Söze:
- The unknown gunman that shot Dean had a gold watch and a gold lighter. Before leaving the police station, Verbal is handed back his belongings which are a gold watch and a gold lighter.
- When gunman urinated on the flame, it was gelatinous and lumpy. During his interrogation with Kujan, Verbal tells him that when he gets dehydrated, his urine becomes gelatinous and lumpy.
- The name "söze" resembles the Turkish word "sözel" which translates to "verbal" in English.
- During development, Christopher McQuarrie originally used the character name, Keyser Sume, after one of his law firm supervisors but changed it slightly after he worried what he might think. He settled on Söze after finding it in a Turkish dictionary; it comes from the idiom "söze boğmak", which means "to talk unnecessarily too much and cause confusion", which was fitting for his alias, Verbal Kint.
- Keyser Söze was based on John List, who murdered his family on November 9, 1971, disappeared for 18 years, assumed a new identity, and remarried.
- Keyser Söze's mythical status was inspired by Yuri, a rumored KGB mole whose existence nobody can confirm, from the 1987 film, No Way Out.
- Kint's quote, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.", was borrowed from Charles Baudelaire.